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August 22 2014

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5 posts tagged "Game of Thrones"

Christopher Kane on the Agony and the Thrill of Being a Designer and How It’s Changed His Life

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Chris KaneChristopher Kane was drinking green juice at the Carlyle last Tuesday. The designer was Natalie Massenet’s date at the Met Gala the night before and at the Top of the Standard and Up & Down after-parties that followed it. In the eight years since his award-winning graduate Central Saint Martins collection (newsflash, ladies: Those neon-hued bandage dresses might be making a comeback), Kane has become London fashion’s most successful export. Net-a-Porter shipped his clothes to eighty-six countries last year. Eighty-six! 2013 was a big year for him all around: In January, Kering (then PPR) took a majority stake in his business. Remarkably, as this interview shows, he remains one of the most candid, down-to-earth, and downright funny designers around. Before he headed back across the pond to prepare his Resort collection for a presentation next month, he sat down with Style.com to discuss everything from his impressions of Charles James’ gowns (“very sexual”) and his favorite TV show (“Game of Thrones“) to what’s on the docket for the rest of 2014. Look out, Mount Street! Kane’s first store is scheduled to open on the Mayfair thoroughfare in November.

How has the Kering investment changed things for you and your brand?
I’d say we’re now solely doing what we want to do. Before, we were run ragged—we were doing everything from admin to silly things, it was just relentless. It feels [like] I can enjoy myself again. Sometimes it can really take it out of you and you can think, What am I doing? All of a sudden this happened and it’s a huge sigh of relief.

At Net-a-Porter’s dinner for you last week, the site’s president, Alison Loehnis, said they shipped your clothes to eighty-six countries last year. That’s a lot. What are your goals for 2014 in terms of sales, and otherwise?
We’re looking for a new CFO. Our store opening is projected for November in Mount Street [in London]. Mount Street is having a bit of a renaissance. Céline’s just opened. It’s a really nice community of designers and labels, I’m really honored to be on that street. We’ve also launched the handbags, and we have an in-house accessory designer now. Men’s is doing really well, and we’re building more categories within the men’s.

In his recent reviews, Tim Blanks has remarked about the astounding number of ideas that are in your shows. Do you see Kering’s investment and this creative surge going hand in hand?
I’ve always had a huge library of ideas, but it’s so good to have the facilities to do more product categories now, like tailoring and leather goods. If you don’t do it [an idea], someone else might, so I just have to get it out there. I hate an idea to go stagnant, to go a bit smelly. The season I joined Kering, everyone was like, “It’s such a big show, you must’ve gotten so much money.” Actually, that show was produced with the same [amount of] money as the season before. It was just a celebration, it was not about spending a lot of money.

Among the things that resonated on your Fall runway were the nylon and fur pieces. Where did those ideas come from?
I’ve always loved fur, and I suppose with the nylon, it was that outdoor feeling. It feels good, it’s also quite sensual, it’s very like skin. I liked the contrast. There’s also that rich, pure quality. The show was centered around mink and nylon, everything came from there. It started quite clean, and then it becomes who knows? The nylon became ruched, it looked almost like a trash bag, but I liked that. The end dresses were based on books, pages, and things falling. So, a lot going on in that collection.

Christopher Kane

Were you a big reader when you were a kid?
No. I still don’t read now. I wish I was that kind of person, but I’m just not. I’m really impatient. I like the impact of the visual. Growing up, I liked TV.

What were your favorite shows?
The Clothes Show with Jeff Banks—it was a big deal in London. Jeanne Beker on Fashion TV. Even Elsa Klensch. She always made everything really intellectual. I was addicted from there on.

That’s where you discovered Versace?
I used to love watching Versace, and then it became Versace and Helmut Lang. They were my two favorites at different periods in my life. I used to sit and record with a VHS tape and stop and start and write Atelier Versace 1:20 till two minutes…It was like a log. I was nuts.

I think of Versace and Helmut Lang as quite different. Do you see similarities?
I think they were both pushing boundaries, and that’s what they were so good at. I think they’re really similar in that sense. They loved their jobs and you could really see that. They put their hearts and souls in it. Gianni and Donatella, they really stood out because the landscape was quite bleak, whereas they were like, Bam! In your face. Women really wanted to look like that. That power. Helmut had that same vision of these powerful women—to stand out.

Helmut is still so influential.
That’s one thing that I’m always very aware of. If I’m doing anything that looks like something [someone else did], I’m like, “No, out, get it out.” Tammy [Kane's sister and business partner] is always going nuts with me, saying, “No, it doesn’t look like that.” And I’m like, “No, it does,” and I have to scrap it or I can’t move forward. I’m very defensive about it, but you need to be because it’s your work. I’d never want to bastardize someone’s work and take it as my own—it’s destructive.

Other than Versace and Helmut, are there other designers who you admire?
I’m always very focused on what Tammy [and I] are doing. But you can’t help respecting what other designers have done. Rei Kawakubo, Miuccia Prada…and Raf is doing a great job at Dior. Working for Donatella was a highlight. I’ve got respect for everyone. It’s really hard being a designer.

It doesn’t show with you.
That’s funny. I’ve got pictures of myself from five years ago and pictures of myself now, and it’s just like, “Really?” Everything’s changed. Is it because I’m always hunched over my desk? Yeah, I think it’s starting to show. I’ve got a huge plan when I get back to London. Yoga, I’m really loving that again. Being a designer can be agony, but I suppose it’s like being in love. There’s pain, but you love it.

You’ve always struck me as a designer who knows how to balance work with having a good time.
Yeah, that’s why I’m drinking green juice.

How do you explain other big names copying? I think it might be because some designers are removed from the work. They’ve got such big teams.
I just don’t think there’s any excuse. It’s not right. If it not’s OK for a small designer like me, the big brands should be even more conscious of it.

Christopher KaneWhat about the other way around? Do you see trickle-down Christopher Kane ideas?

Everywhere. One collection in particular has always been referenced by a lot of people, and that’s the Spring 2008 collection, the one with the snakeskin, the ruffles, and the denim. That was a time when people were like, “Oh, my God, snakeskin is so cheap.” And I was like, “Really? Really? So that’s why it’s everywhere?” Or neon. When I did neon, everyone was like, “It’s so cheap and nasty.” So that’s why everyone’s doing neon this and neon that. Neon’s the new black. Listen, it’s a fabric, it’s a color, but those collections have been referenced a lot. And my lace and ring dresses from Central Saint Martins, there’s one designer who really rubbed me the wrong way, but I won’t even go near that. They’re my babies—that’s what set me off.

Those dresses made such a mark. What a debut.
I remember doing those dresses and being so terrified to show [my professor] Louise Wilson. I thought she was going to hate them. At college, there are the Comme des Garçons people, the Helmut people, they’re all trying to be that designer, and I’m like, “Why don’t you just be yourself?” That first knit dress was made from stockings and tights that I got in the market because that was all I could afford. I took it in, the model had a robe on. Louise said, “Where the fuck have you been?” That’s how Louise would talk. She said, “What have you got to show me?” The model took off her robe, and—that’s when Louise used to smoke—she took a puff and said, “That’s fucking great. Do another six and come back to me.” She was so tired of seeing the same old rehash of other things. It probably cost about 10 pounds to make. They’re now in cold storage. It’s great to bring them back out. It’s hard sometimes, but I look at them, and I say, “Well, if I could do that then, I can do it now.”

Were those dresses produced? I can’t remember.
Some of them were, yeah. Some of them we did in very small quantities. I think they might be coming back, you never know.

Things move so fast in fashion. Is that difficult for you?
I was really lucky. This whole idea of Resort and Pre-Fall, when we started that was still unknown. We really grew into them. There came a time to do them because we were at the right level, whereas you do feel sorry for some young designers. They run before they can walk because they’re expected to. It’s not fair. It’s hard doing one collection, never mind six. Back then you could have a life. Now it’s like deadline: fabrics. You’re picking fabrics two seasons ahead. You know when you pick something, that color will come up somewhere else and you won’t want to use it, but you’ve got all this fabric. You’re in the hands of the suppliers, basically.

Now that you’re in the position you’re in, what things, if any, do you wish were different about the fashion business?
There’s so many. No, really, we’re really blessed, but being creative is really tough. To be creative every day is brain damaging, you can’t do it. It does really suck it out of you. But the pace is so fast that you have to force yourself. That’s when it’s hard.

What do you like to do on your downtime? TV?
All the time. That’s the only thing I get to do. And that’s why exercise is going to play a big role when I get back. [laughs]. I’m in love with Game of Thrones. I didn’t get to watch Sunday’s episode, though. I was doing Natalie [Massenet]‘s fitting [for the Met Gala], and I kept telling her, “Natalie, we need to hurry up.”

You’re part of a fashion resurgence in London. Do you see people coming up behind you that interest you?
First, I don’t think it’s ever been bad, London. Hussein Chalayan, his shows were groundbreaking. The McQueen and Galliano period. It was always great. Look, there’s lots of good talent everywhere, but London has the best art schools in the world. When I was in Scotland, art was never seen as a career option. London is a very creative city.

Many of your peers in New York have taken over big European design houses. Are there any brands you’d like to put your imprimatur on?
Of course, it’s a dream to have the facilities, but I’m fine [where I am now], I’m still young. I’m quite focused on my brand, and my brand is just as good. I love it. I’ve got enough on my plate right now, that’s an honest answer. But I’m not going to lie, of course. Where would I go? It’s nice to see fashion changing. What Raf’s done at Dior is really brilliant. I think it really needed that, and now it really stands alone. You want to wear it. I love what Alex is doing at Balenciaga, good for him. Hedi Slimane. There’s always a negativity around what he’s doing at Saint Laurent, but I like it. I think he’s really clever and he’s one of the most important designers ever. And Nicolas at Vuitton—it’s Nicolas Ghesquière, how can you not like it?

Last question: What did you think of the Charles James exhibition?
It was very sexual, a lot of the draping and the structures. I don’t think I was the only one who noticed. But the dresses were perfection, you can’t deny it. Dior called him a master, Balenciaga really loved him. In his day, he was the real thing.

Photos: BFAnyc.com; Alessandro Garofalo / Indigitalimages.com

Watch the Thrones: Kit Harington to become the New Face of Jimmy Choo Man

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Kit Harington

Here’s a juicy tidbit of news that should help tide over Game of Thrones fans eagerly awaiting the season four premiere on April 6. This morning, Jimmy Choo announced that Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in the award-winning HBO fantasy series, will star in the accessory label’s forthcoming Fall ’14 men’s campaign. In addition to modeling the latest range of shoes and bags, the ruggedly handsome 27-year-old actor will also serve as the face of Jimmy Choo Man, the label’s debut men’s fragrance launching in September. While previews of the ads have yet to be released, we wouldn’t be disappointed if they looked something like the image above superimposed with luxe leather goods. The brand’s creative director, Sandra Choi, told Style.com, “Kit has an innate confidence, an effortless presence and attitude. He has an overtly masculine style and a rebellious sense of humor as well as being a very talented actor. He is the perfect Jimmy Choo Man.”

Photo: HBO 

Scandal, Horror, and Lots of Dirty Politicians Take the 2013 Emmy Nominations

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Kerry Washington at the 2012 Emmy AwardsAfter hearing this morning’s announcement of the 2013 Emmy nominations, it seems that little has changed in TV land since 2012. After a somewhat controversial second season, Girls is still going strong, and the ever-trendy Game of Thrones, 30 Rock, Breaking Bad, and Louie all earned mentions, too. Unsurprisingly, Emmy veterans Mad Men, Downton Abbey, and Homeland were all nominated once (or twice, or five times) again. Other notable nods went to funny women Jane Lynch for Glee, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep, and Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation.

Newcomers included juicy dramas Scandal and Nashville, but the only real surprise was the Netflix series House of Cards. The political saga earned nine nominations, including Best Drama Series, and marks the first time the Emmys have included an online-only program.

In terms of quantity, American Horror Story: Asylum tops the list with nominations in seventeen categories. But the more-is-more game has a few other players: Saturday Night Live earned a hearty fifteen nominations, as did HBO’s Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra. The film’s Michael Douglas and Matt Damon were each nominated for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, and Steven Soderbergh is up for Best Director. Of course, we’ll be keeping our eyes on the red carpet to see what stars like Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nominee Kerry Washington (left), Tina Fey, Claire Danes, and Kiernan Shipka don to the awards on September 22, and we’re also eager to hear who takes the win for best costumes—crowd favorites like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and Downton Abbey are all vying for the prize. See a list of the big nominees, below.

Continue Reading “Scandal, Horror, and Lots of Dirty Politicians Take the 2013 Emmy Nominations” »

Gwendoline Christie: Glamazon Warrior

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Most know Gwendoline Christie for her role as the armor-clad Brienne of Tarth on HBO’s fantasy smash Game of Thrones (get ready, the new season kicks off March 31). But when Ms. Christie’s not running through a Westeros battlefield, she’s a full-fledged member of London’s tight-knit fashion pack. You might find her cheering (and we mean cheering) at a good LFW show, squeezed into the front row between Princess Julia and Lulu Kennedy (Christie never misses the runways of close friends like Roksanda Ilincic, Louise Gray, Giles Deacon, and Henry Holland, just to name a few), and the bulk of her GOT press wardrobe was courtesy of pal Richard Nicoll. The six-foot, three-inch actress actually got her start modeling in student shows at the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. “I feel quite passionately about London Fashion,” Christie told Style.com. “I think some of the most creative and interesting and brilliant people I know are involved in fashion, and I’m lucky enough that they’re my friends.”

Naturally, however, playing a die-hard warrior will have an effect on one’s look. “I had to cut my hair for Game of Thrones, which I found really hard. I find it quite embarrassing to admit that, but I think a lot of a woman’s femininity is tied up with her hair. Afterward, I had quite a big style overhaul,” says the actress, noting she used to study film-noir stars and covet a “sex bomb” Marilyn Monroe aesthetic. “Now, I look to people like Jean Shrimpton, Katharine Hepburn, Twiggy, and Greta Garbo in her more masculine stage.” Christie’s since embraced her ultra-androgynous makeover (pretty on trend, if we do say). “I think that’s more interesting—like a modern reimagining of femininity.” Continue Reading “Gwendoline Christie: Glamazon Warrior” »

Girls Allowed: The 2012 Emmy Nominations

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It’s hard not to wonder about the overlap between Emmy voters and Twitter obsessives this year. The nominations for the annual primetime TV awards skews to the young, the cool, and the zeitgeist-y. Proof? Look no further than the presence of just about every show that’s been a hipster (and, to large part, critics) favorite: Girls (overcoming some bad press to get a Best Comedy Series nod), New Girl, Louie, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey—all got their due. So did Kristen Wiig (Best Actress in a Comedy series, for her tearful final season of SNL), the cult-worshipped English actor Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock, and pop culture’s favorite curmudgeons, Louis C.K. and Larry David. (This year also marks what must be the historic first time that a nominee for Best Actress—Lena Dunham (pictured), Girls—dressed up as a nominee for Best Actor—Louis C.K., Louie—for Halloween. It’s also likely the first time that an actress has been nominated, as Margaret Cho was, for playing Kim Jong-il—in a comedy.) Leading the pack are Mad Men (with 17 nominations) and Homeland (with nine nominations). The awards will be broadcast on September 23.

Best Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Girls
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Best Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike and Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Best Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Best Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mad Men

Best Actress in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland

Best Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields and McCoys
Hemingway and Gellhorn
Luther
Sherlock

Best Actress Miniseries or Movie
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Ashey Judd, Missing
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch

Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys
Beneditch Cumberbach, Sherlock
Idris Elba, Luther
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Bill Paxton, Hatfields and McCoys

Outstanding Host: Reality-Competition Program
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers

Reality-Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Photo: Courtesy of HBO